Wide receiver Hines Ward repeatedly said he would be willing to take a pay cut to remain in Pittsburgh. That apparently didn't matter to the Steelers.
WardTeam officials never approached Ward about having his salary reduced, a source close to four-time Pro Bowl player told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. That means this decision wasn't a financial one. It was based on performance.
By not giving that option to Ward, the Steelers are saying that they didn't want the franchise's all-time leading receiver back at any cost. Ward, who was scheduled to make $4 million this season, could have been willing to playing under the league minimum, but the Steelers never even asked.
The Steelers obviously have moved on from Ward. My only question is why did they let a longtime Steeler wait until Feb. 29 to get cut when team officials weren't interested in reworking his contract. There was a report 18 days ago that indicated that the Steelers had decided to release Ward, but team sources denied it to the Post-Gazette. The right thing to do was just cut him at that point instead of drawing it out until the end of the month.
It was apparent last season that the Steelers weren't going to rely on Ward. His biggest game in terms of receiving yards was the opener when he caught five passes for 67 yards. In his final 10 games, he caught 26 passes for 191 yards.